What is the Hall of Fame weekend?

All NFL eyes will be on the birthplace of American football - Canton, Ohio - over the coming days as the Hall of Fame preseason game precedes the annual enshrinement ceremony. Fans can watch all the events on NFL Game Pass. Subscribe today.

Here is everything you need to know about the big weekend that signals that the new NFL season is just around the corner.

What is the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
Based on the site of the very first professional American football team, the Hall of Fame is a museum that celebrates the entire history of the sport. But, more than that, being inducted into the Hall of Fame represents the highest honour a player, coach or team owner can be granted during their career.

How many people have been inducted into the Hall of Fame?
It is a very exclusive club reserved for true legends of the game. Just 310 players, coaches and officials have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the NFL's 98-season history. By the time this year's inductees take up residence in the Hall, that number will rise to 318. One of the great things about Hall of Fame weekend is the large number of living members who return to Canton to welcome the new class into the fold.

How are inductees chosen for the Hall of Fame and when can they be inducted?
A new class of Hall of Fame inductees are announced on the eve of each Super Bowl after being voted into American football immortality by a select group of journalists. A player or coach must be retired five years before he can be considered for enshrinement, while team owners and executives can be inducted while still holding their current posts.

So what's happening this week?
The action begins on the field Thursday night (early hours of Friday morning) as the Chicago Bears take on the Baltimore Ravens in the annual Hall of Fame Game. Friday then sees the new class of inductees receive their famous gold jackets. Saturday marks their official enshrinement into the Hall of Fame, complete with each new member making a usually-emotional speech in front of thousands of fans.

What are the big storylines from the Hall of Fame game?
The biggest story is that the Bears-Ravens game means the NFL is back! It will mark the first on-field action since last season's Super Bowl and is the first preseason game of the 2018 campaign. The Hall of Fame Game represents the first opportunity for Bears fans to see new head coach Matt Nagy patrolling the sidelines. It will also be a chance to see how much quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has grown heading into his second season. For the Ravens, it will be all about the quarterbacks as veteran Joe Flacco begins a preseason in which he will need to hold off rookie first-rounder Lamar Jackson.

So who are some of the famous names being inducted into the Class of 2018 over the weekend?
Among those about to take up residence in the Hall of Fame (not literally) are Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, electrifying wide receiver Randy Moss and Chicago Bears defender Brian Urlacher. Lewis is renowned for being a motivational figure and his enshrinement speech is hotly anticipated, to say the least. Also heading into the Hall of Fame is controversial receiver Terrell Owens, who is upset at being overlooked in previous induction votes and will not be attending any of this weekend's events.

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